The Black Person’s Guide to Avengers: Infinity War

Illustration for article titled The Black Person’s Guide to Avengers: Infinity War
Photo: Marvel

This review contains spoilers ... I think. I’m not really sure, but if this article ruins your moviegoing experience, I apologize. Also, if this review ruins your moviegoing experience, you need to get a life.


I’m sure your news feeds and timelines are filled with reviews and think pieces about one of the most anticipated movies of the year: Avengers: Infinity War. The vast majority of those articles will probably discuss the film from the perspective of people who are intimately familiar with the Marvel franchise and superhero movies in general.

This is not one of those.

I am a nerd.

I use the word “nerd” in its original context to describe those of us who spent most of our lives as socially awkward outsiders more interested in information than people. I was a thick-glasses-wearing, non-date-getting weirdo who once asked for a set of World Book Encyclopedias for my birthday.

Most nerds read comic books, but only because they read everything. But most people who read comic books are not nerds. Having a preference for DC characters versus Marvel, or knowing the evolution process of Pokémon, does not make you a nerd. You’re just a motherfucker who likes books with cartoons. Stop stealing our term. It’s cultural appropriation.

So when I decided to review Avengers: Infinity War (or, more accurately, it was decided for me by The Root Deputy Managing Editor Yesha Callahan), I went in blind. I have never seen an Avengers movie, Guardians of the Galaxy or most of the other franchises. I think I remember watching the first Iron Man and made it through 15 minutes of the Hulk movie before I was disgusted by the cartoon Hulk that looked nothing like Lou Ferrigno. However, I saw Black Panther because ... well ... I am black.

When I learned that the running time of the film was 2 hours and 28 minutes, I almost walked out of the theater, but given its length, every minute was enjoyable. It was intense, emotional, funny and suspenseful and went by very quickly. I even sat through the credits because apparently, that is a thing with Marvel movies. Plus, I was in the middle of the row in a Times Square theater at a midnight showing, so I didn’t want to fight.

Having no expectations or beforehand knowledge of the movie may have made it more enjoyable. A:IW was written and directed to appease both the hard-core fan and the average moviegoer.



Avengers: Infinity War is a documentary about the Trump administration and how white people want to run the world. The villain of the movie is an old, wrinkled, powerful villain named Thanos J. Trump who wants all the power of the universe and really loves his daughter even though she is in love with an inadequate doofus. Sound familiar?


Thanos is accompanied by a ghoulish sidekick who resembles Kellyanne Conway, while Sarah Huckabee Sanders doesn’t appear until the end. Sadly, many of the Cabinet members in the Thanos administration are forced to leave when they prove to be inept at their jobs.

Thanos’ ultimate goal is to make the universe great again by gaining enough power to conduct a genocide. Opposing Thanos’ bid to jump-start a holocaust are the Avengers, who are basically white people who think they can stop a galaxywide war by starting a galaxywide war.


Seems legit.


OK, you guys are going to hate me for this, but one flaw in the movie is that it doesn’t explain who many of the characters are. I probably could have researched the characters before I viewed the film, but fuck that. I’m not doing homework for a movie.


For instance, one of the major characters was a magenta dude named Vision who had an LED light bulb implanted in his forehead. Who the fuck is Vision? What kind of superhero name is “Vision,” anyway? I would have chosen something more spectacular, like “Lampman” or “Mr. Lightheaded.”

Why was Bruce Banner even in the movie if he wasn’t going to turn into the Hulk? If Bruce Banner were my homeboy and we were going to fight, I wouldn’t let him take up a seat in the car if he’s not going to smash shit. I’d ask: “Why are you even here, Bruce? You’re going to put us on WorldStar, aren’t you?” And Anthony Mackie (I assume that was his character’s name) and War Machine didn’t even seem to have superpowers. I had no problems with this because it’s always good to have a few black guys around just in case there’s going to be a fight.


Still, the movie was a little bit racist. How am I, as a black man, supposed to know the difference between Thor and Captain America? One was played by Chris Pine and the other by Chris Evans. I don’t know which is which because no one does. I honestly think they’re the same guy who’s doubling up on his Hollywood paychecks.

I thought Captain America carried a shield and wore red, white and blue. And isn’t Thor supposed to wield a hammer? Both of them wore all black in the movie, and Thor had a motherfucking ax! They were indistinguishable from each other and—until I went to Wikipedia before typing this sentence—I had no idea that was Steve Rogers. Captain America’s name is Steve?


Also, there was a white woman named Wanda.

Many of the superheroes’ powers were unrecognizable to me as a layperson. When did Spider-Man get tentacles? Why is Tony Stark so powerful if all he has is a suit? But my major beef with the character development is that most of the Avengers, Thanos and many of his henchmen all had the same power: the ability to shoot light out of their hands.


This is a big thing in the Marvel Universe. Apparently, light will fuck you up, depending on the shape, luminescence and color of your hand-light beams. For instance, Dr. Strange’s circle lights were a lot more powerful than Vision’s linear shots. Even Tony modified his suit so he could shoot light from his hands.

And like all movies, there’s always a scene where the heroes have to combine their lights and pit them against the antagonist’s light until it drains their energy, causing the heroes to fall to their knees and say, “He’s just too powerful!”



The plot devices were surprisingly complex but easy to follow. Basically, the heroes were charged with stopping Trump Thanos from gathering six stones that would give him control of the universe. The gaping hole in the plot was that the Avengers did this in the whitest way possible: taking the rocks directly to Thanos.


Dr. Strange wore his Infinity Stone as a charm around his neck! I know the Avengers have defeated bad guys across the galaxy, but every 13-year-old in Brooklyn knows you’re supposed to tuck your chain before you fight!

All of the separate plot points converged in Wakanda because when things get tough, you need black people to clean up your mess. The climax of the movie was when the regular citizens of Wakanda had to join the regular-ass white people, and T’Challa had to decide whether or not he should save the universe by—and this is not hyperbole—letting a horde of white devils into Wakanda.


How did it end? Did the Thanos genocide work? Did Wakanda save the world?

You gotta watch the movie, bruh!

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.


The Kinja Assassin

It was a fantastic film. For an old-school comic book fan whose been following these movies, it was a culmination of so much. I cannot wait to see the next one (and Captain Marvel.)


I never even thought about this while watching the movie, but I read somewhere else that at the end, Peter Parker’s spider-sense probably warned him what was about to happen. Which is why his reaction is so much more pronounced. And that entire scene between him and Tony at the end? Heartbreaking.


Regarding nerd culture, when I was growing up I was a nerd and I could never really talk about my interests with other people outside of a handful of like-minded individuals. To see nowadays that nerd culture has been embraced on such a grand scale and the general public are debating Marvel movies and television shows about dragons and zombies is fantastic to me. I love it. Real nerds? Fake nerds? Who cares.